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Political Entertainers

Feb 20 (NS) Spare a thought for Udaya Gammanpila. The man is kept busy these days commenting about anything and everything, ranging from national anthems to the appointment of the Attorney General. He does so enthusiastically too, perhaps believing that any publicity is good publicity. His latest foray was to ask the government to appoint the Acting Attorney General to the more substantive post. A reasonable request, you could argue. more..

Navam Perahera: A display of collective devotion

Feb 20 (DN) Gangarama Temple Navam Perahera will take procession on Feb 21 and 22, after the casket of Sacred Relics is ceremoniously placed on the main tusker at the auspicious time - 7.30 pm. The perahera will start from W.A.D. Ramanayake Mawatha and proceed through Hunupitiya Lake Road and Sri Jinaratana Mawatha before circling the Empire Roundabout to return to Sri Jinaratana Mawatha. It will thereafter take the route through Sir James Peiris Mawatha, Perahera Mawatha, more..

Sampur power plant receives environment approval; construction soon

Feb 20 (LBO) The construction work of the Sampur coal power plant will start soon as the project received the environment approval early this month, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. Accordingly the first and second phase of this project is to be commenced within the next few months, he said. He made an inspection tour at the proposed construction site and reviewed the current progress of the project. more..

Commercial Bank announces debenture issue of Rs 5 bn

Feb 20 (Island) Commercial Bank, has announced plans to raise Rs 5 billion via a debenture issue with an option to increase it by a further Rs2 billion, for the growth of the Bank's lending portfolio and to further strengthen its balance sheet. The listed, rated, unsecured, subordinated, redeemable debenture issue opens on 29th Feb, but applications are now being accepted. More details can be obtained from the prospectus available in website and at all stockbrokers. more..

Rapist-killer strung up victim’s body from ceiling

Feb 20 (CT) A suspected suicide of a 14-year-old girl in the Vavuniya Police Division was determined to have been a murder at the post-mortem examination of her body, Police said. Her body was found on 16 February hanging at the end of a Sari from the ceiling of her home in what appeared to have been a clear case of suicide. However, the post-mortem exam of her body conducted on orders of the Vavuniya Magistrate's Court revealed, that the child had been raped and then killed, more..

CB unexpectedly raises policy rates 50 bps

Feb 20 (EN) Central bank raised policy rates by 50 basis points taking the rate corridor to 6.5% and 8%, barely keeping pace with banks which had already raised deposit rates by higher amounts. "…In spite of the recent policy measures taken by Central Bank and some upward adjustments observed in market interest rates, certain risks to macroeconomic stability continue," CB said in a February policy statement. more..

Prime Beauty!

Feb 20 (FT) One of Sri Lanka’s biggest beauty pageants, Miss Tourism Sri Lanka International 2016 is currently on and its global contestants paid a courtesy call on PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday. Twenty young delegates representing the Netherlands, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, Singapore, USA, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Thailand, China, India, Denmark, UK, Lithuania, Sweden, Japan, Luxemburg and Sri Lanka participated in the program. more..

Colombo aims to be top regional cruise hub

Feb 20 (EN) Colombo port will build a dedicated cruise terminal aiming to be the largest cruise port in the region, a plan to make the capital into Megapolis of nine million people said. An existing bulk cargo terminal will be extended and made into a cruise centre, the megapolis structure plan developed with help from Surbana Jurong, a Singapore urban planning specialist said. "..Cruise activities are expected to increase with the economic growth in South Asia and Colombo could position itself more..

‘Tamil areas in SL are the pockets of poverty’

Feb 20 (Hindu) Regions with the highest rate of poverty in SL are areas inhabited by Tamils, according to a study of World Bank. Regions come under the districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi in Northern Province; Batticaloa in the East and plantations in Badulla district (Uva Province) and Nuwara Eliya (Central Province). One Sinhala-dominated region the study has identified as having a high rate of poverty is Monaragala district. more..

Thailand assistance to build Bhikkhu hospital and university

Feb 20 (FT) Govt is considering obtaining assistance from Thailand to build a Bhikkhu hospital and a university for Buddhist monks, Minister Daya Gamage said at the inaugural meeting of Visuddimagga International Buddhist conference. The matter was discussed during a recent visit to Thailand by a SL delegation including himself, said the Minister. The objective of the conference is to further strengthen the national programme to nurture Buddhism and to formulate policies required. more..

Royal Turf Club launched, promotes sports tourism

Feb 20 (ST) Royal Turf Club (RTC) Nuwara Eliya was launched on Tuesday geared to promoting horse racing in Sri Lanka to its highest level that is expected to lure tourists to witness a numberof events scheduled from March this year. The newly-launched club is set to herald a new phase in horse racing in the country with a view to reviving the age-old sport that was first introduced in the 1840s by John Baker, with the inaugural race held at the Nuwara Eliya Race Course in 1875. more..

'UNP also focusing on a 3rd level leadership'

Feb 20 (DM) Focusing on the future prospects of the UNP, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said it was time to prepare a 3rd level of leaders to take over the party when the senior leaders retire. “We have already established a 2nd level leadership. It is now time to have a third and fourth level leadership because we will also have to retire one day," he told party organizers. "New leaders will have to take over so that we the senior leaders can rest and more..

Dialog Powers Sri Lanka at Asia Cup

Feb 20 (NS) Sri Lanka’s premier telecommunications service provider, Dialog Axiata PLC, will sponsor the Sri Lankan cricket team at the Asia Cup 2016, scheduled to commence in Dhaka, Bangladesh next week. Defending Champions, Sri Lanka, will take on the winner of the qualifying round tournament in the opening game on 25th February, before they meet hosts Bangladesh on Sunday 28th, and India and Pakistan on 1st and 4th March respectively before the knockout stage. more..

Confident Group to Sponsor Sri Lanka's T20 WC Team

Feb 20 (ENS) The Confident Group will sponsor the Men’s and Women’s cricket teams of Sri Lanka for the ICC Twenty-20 World Cup - 2016, to be held in India during the March-April period. Speaking at a press conference at Bolgatty Island, as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Group, chairman and founder Dr Roy C J said that Lasith Malinga would lead the international Twenty-20 squad of Sri Lanka. At the function, the official jersey of the Sri Lanka team was unveiled by more..

Wimal, six NFF activists noticed to appear in Court

Feb 20 (DN) National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and MP Wimal Weerawansa and six other party activists who staged a protest march against the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein were yesterday noticed to appear before the Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court on March 18 for allegedly providing leadership to a protest which blocks the main roads at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, more..

Alleged trafficker and slaves from Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (IM) The man arrested yesterday on suspicion of keeping two foreign women as slaves in the town of Vik in Southern Iceland is of Sri Lankan nationality, it has been confirmed. The two alleged female victims are also from Sri Lanka. The man detained was a sub-contractor for the Icewear knitting factory in the town of Vík. The popular Víkurprjón shop in the town has terminated its contract with Icewear in the wake of this arrest. It is believed that the two women in question were more..

Mystery cache of guns, ammo in Batti

Feb 20 (CT) Police have discovered a T-56 weapon, 30 bullets, a spent magazine and a pistol which had been buried in a State-owned property in Panichchaadi, Batticaloa. The cache was discovered on a tip-off received by the Police recently. The identification numbers on the weapons had been defaced, Police said. Police suspect whether these weapons, which had gathered surface rust, belong to the LTTE or to another source currently under a top level probe. more..

Ministry Spas rubbed off

Feb 20 (NS) The govt will ban any new unit set up by ministers under their respective ministries which are not listed in the gazette which recognizes institutions and units under those ministries, govt sources disclosed. This follows the detection of a Spa set up by a prominent minister under his ministry under the guise of a physical health exercise centre where young women have been employed as Therapists and more..

Welgama wants Presidency abolished

Feb 20 (NS) Executive Presidency should be abolished as promised by President Sirisena and all the powers must be transferred to Parliament, SLFP MP in Joint Opposition, Kumara Welgama stressed. When asked as to what the policies of the new political party in the offing would be, he said that new policies would be brought only if a new political party is formed. The majority of the people do not like the state of the economy although a certain section of the population does, he observed. more..

Consumer rights group threatens to take CAA to the CIABOC

Feb 20 (NS) National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection (NMCRP) is planning on lodging a complaint against the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) at the CIABOC over a programme to be conducted by CAA for which the funds would come from companies. Writing to the Director General of CAA, Chairman of NMCRP, said that the CAA from March 14 to March 20 was planning on conducting a consumer relief week, cost of which they say is approximately Rs 40 million. more..

Austria – Sri Lanka agree to enhance economic cooperation

Feb 20 (PSL) President of Austria Heinz Fischer and President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to increase the cooperation in the economic development between the two countries as friendly nations. The two leaders came into this agreement when they held an official disvussions today (19) at the President’s Office of Austria. President Sirisena who arrived in the President’s Office was welcomed by President Fischer. more..

Buddhist-Muslim relationship could be warmer

Let me begin this letter with a short comparison of two stories that recently happened in two different countries, but under a somewhat similar context. A few months ago, a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk who is residing in Myanmar was waiting at the Yangon international airport to receive someone and relayed an interesting story to me later. “There was a Muslim family standing next to me – and I smiled at them out of courtesy. But the response was strange – they reciprocated in more..

Wikileaks show how Big-pharma sabotaged Bibile policies

Feb 20 (DM) In the health sector, corruption could kill people. The Daily Mirror in its editorial on Wednesday highlighted a report by transparency International’s British branch. The report on corruption in the global healthcare and pharmaceutical sector showed the deadly extent to which corruption has spread like a cancer and was posing a danger to millions of people. The crisis is similar in Sri Lanka though, after a 10 year delay, the national govt last year passed legislation more..

Law continues to crawl in Weerawansa saga

Feb 20 (SL) The saying all are equal but some are more equal than others appears to be a reality today when considering the alleged passport frauds of MP Wimal Weerawansa and his wife Shashi Weerawansa. The husband and wife duo are accused of using fraudulent travel documents, but questions have been raised as to why the law enforcement authorities have not taken swift action against these two law-breakers more..

ETCA will lead to more deals in future: Joint. Oppn.

Feb 20 (DM) The Joint Opposition charged that the proposed economic agreement between Sri Lanka and India would lead to many future agreements such as the previously abandoned Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Issuing a statement, it said in reality the govt was intending to sign an Economic and Technical Cooperation Framework Agreement (ETCFA) which only sets a framework for more..

D.B. Wijetunga: From deaf and blind PM to dearly beloved President

Feb 20 (DBS) The Birth Centenary of Sri Lanka’s third Executive President Dingiri Banda (DB) Wijetunga was celebrated last week. DB Wijetunga was born during British rule on Feb 15th 1916. He passed away on Sept 21st 2008 at the age of 92. DB as he was popularly known served as President from May 1st 1993 to Nov 12th 1994. Earlier he held the post of Prime Minister from March 6th 1989 to May 1st 1993. more..

Trap guns taking heavy toll on human and animal life

Feb 20 (ST) The illegal use of trap guns to ward off wild animals that cause harm to farm land is common in villages in the Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Navagaththegama, Wanathavilluwa and Karuwalagaswewa in the Puttlam District. Though aimed at protecting cultivated land, it is taking a toll on both human and animal lives and leaves behind many tragedies. Kamala Ramanayake whose young son was more..

Petroleum Minister claims CPC short of staff; unions dispute his contention

Feb 20 (Island) Minister Chandima Weerakkody lashed out at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) branch of JSS, claiming that the Corporation did not have an excess of employees. He said that there were only 3,000 workers at CPC currently while it could employ around 3,500. "There are vacancies for another 500 workers but we interviewed only 120 candidates. I should have a right to recruit SLFP supporters more..

'Geneva process inimical to Sri Lanka'

Feb 20 (Island) The National Movement for the Protection of Armed Forces is planning to make representations to President Maithripala Sirisena as regards the on-going accountability process spearheaded by the UNHRC. Its General Secretary and former UPFA/NFF MP Jayantha Samaraweera said that the grouping was in the process of collecting signatures to a petition scheduled to be handed over to President more..

Bridge on the River Kwai to be exploded?

Feb 20 (DM) The residents of the Kalubothenna area had organized a protest yesterday to object on the explosions of the bridge where the film The Bridge on the River Kwai was shot in 1957 with the large rock near it. The residents said the bridge and the rock would be exploded because of a private hydro-power plant which comes under the Broadlands hydro-power project. This hydro-power plant is situated beneath the Polpitiya more..

Mafia-style cops shield Embilipitiya ASP

Feb 20 (CT) Provincial journalists of Embilipitiya are asking why Prisons Guards and Policemen throw a protective ring around former Embilipitiya ASP C. Dharmaratne when he is brought to Court to prevent even photojournalists taking pictures of him for their publications. This is a crude and public violation of media rights and the public's Right to Information, provincial reporters and photographers say. more..

'Sri Lanka wants trade instead of loans'

Feb 20 (AD) Everybody who insists that we have a five star democracy please do come and invest with us now, finance minister Ravi Karunanayake said speaking at the investor seminar organized by the Austrian chamber of economy. This investor seminar, which was held under the patronage of the President Maithripala Sirisena, had an overwhelming response from the Austrian business community. more..

ITAK Constitution challenged in SC

Feb 20 (CT) Supreme Court yesterday ordered written submissions from petitioners and respondents of a petition requesting the Court to issue a declaration that ITAK is a political party, which has as one of the objectives, the establishment of a separate State in Sri Lanka. H.K. Don Chandrasoma of Polhena, Kelaniya Housing Scheme has filed this petition under Article 157A (4) of the Constitution. more..

The struggle for power

Feb 20 (CT) There is an escalating, on-going struggle for state power between the forces aligned with Ranil-Sirisena govt and Joint Opposition being forged and led by Mahinda Rajapakse. This will prove to be a decisive and extremely consequential struggle. That is to say, only one side can win and exercise dictatorship and hegemony over society. Space for cohabitation and coexistence within the various fractions and parties of the ruling class is evaporating in the heat of the bitter contest more..

Political & religious leadership crisis of Muslims

Feb 20 (CT) The island’s Muslim community is passing through its worst ever political and religious leadership crisis which placed the community in a precariously helpless situation while burning issues await urgent solution. The tragedy is that this happens at a time when so many hostile forces, both local and foreign, are openly and secretly working against Muslims. Ever since the evolution of political reforms in the 1930s Muslim leaders who were respected by all worked for more..

Hiru TV: Balaya

Mitigating dissent of unemployed graduates

Feb 20 (CT) What we saw last week, had the hallmarks of a simmering volcano, erupting periodically. It is the major social catastrophes of unemployed graduates which keep on simmering at various times, even having political overtones. It is dissent of epic proportions where authorities believe that the only answer to quell these issues would be to open water cannons and tear gas. The problems were far from over. This was only a temporary measure. more..

Asia Cup 2016: Sri Lanka lack spin threat

Feb 20 (IE) 2014 Asia Cup: Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis finishes with nine wickets – third most – and Sri Lanka with the fifth title. 2016 Asia Cup: The mystery has been unraveled and there is no Mendis in the squad. Mendis apart, the squad lacks a quality spinner. Sri Lanka have been attributed to producing quality spinners through the years. From legendary Muttiah Muralitharan to Kumar Dharmasena and then for some time it looked like Mendis had picked up the baton. more..

Greener pastures for plantation workers

Feb 20 (CT) Tea is one of Sri Lanka's main foreign income generators and provides employment for over 400,000 workers. Although world tea prices have been down for almost one and a half years, almost all major tea estates made significant profits in 2014 and 2015. However, the common perception is that estate sector workers live in extreme poverty and have been misguided and manipulated by the plantation sector political more..

Favouritism at what cost?

Feb 20 (CT) Malee was 11 when she passed the scholarship examination while attending her village school in Chilaw and moved to Colombo to attend a popular girls’ school. Malee who was lauded at her previous school as a smart and ambitious girl was excited to come to Colombo, and to enrol in her Colombo school. On her first day of school in Colombo, Malee was introduced to her new classmates by her new class teacher, Shirani. Thus the first four hours of lessons continued. more..